Performance Beyond the Hype
The CX Gold is not all about the hype nor the price, this power packed product really delivers. An action camera is all about delivering video and stills to your screen so the most important aspects to be judged are the lens and video processing onboard. Let’s first look at the lens. The GoPro Hero 4 Black is currently the flagship of GoPro’s lineup and the lens on this $499 product is rated at an F/2.8 which in the world of photography is very good. The CX Gold a $249 product comes with a lens rated at F/2.4. Even ACTIVEON’s basic CX a $99 product comes with a F/2.4 lens. When it comes to F Stops the lower the number the better.
In optics, the f-number (sometimes called focal ratio, f-ratio, f–stop, or relative aperture) of an optical system is the ratio of the lens’s focal length to the diameter of the entrance pupil. It is a dimensionless number that is a quantitative measure of lens speed, and an important concept in photography.
Ignoring differences in light transmission efficiency, a lens with a greater f-number projects darker images. The brightness of the projected image (illuminance) relative to the brightness of the scene in the lens’s field of view (luminance) decreases with the square of the f-number. Doubling the f-number decreases the relative brightness by a factor of four. To maintain the same photographic exposure when doubling the f-number, the exposure time would need to be four times as long.
Essentially the higher the F Stop the darker the image and in the case of an action camera usually the lower the image quality as we are trying to capture moving action. In the case of an action camera F Stop is of paramount importance as it directly relates to the camera’s ability to capture light at a fast pace. So when it comes to F Stop, the lower the better for action cameras.
Next we concentrate on the sensor picking up the light and processing the data. Both companies claim to use Pro-Grade sensors but the technical specs are very different and both have pro’s and cons.
|Specification||GoPro Hero 4 Black||ACTIVEON CX Gold|
|Sensor Size||12MP- 1/2.3″. 4:3 – 4000 x 3000 pixels @ 100% FOV. 12 MPPixel size: 1.55um (microns)||16MP|
|FOV Settings||3 Step: Wide 12MP, Wide Medium 7MP, Medium 5MP||4 Step: Super Wide, Wide, Medium, Narrow|
|Time Lapse||0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 and 60 seconds||0.5, 1, 3, 5, 10, 30, 60 sec|
|Audio||Format: 48kHz sampling rate, AAC compression
Advanced AGC (automatic gain control) with multi-band compressor
|Format: 48kHz sampling rate, 16bit
|Touch Screen||No||2.0″ Built-in Touch Screen with Easy Navigation interface|
built in lithum-ion battery
Of course this is only a small table comparison of the full features of both cameras. It should be noted that the GoPro does indeed offer a huge range of additional options that the CX Gold does not. It should also be noted that these options are not accessible via a touch screen interface on the GoPro 4 without the additional sold separately LCD Touch BacPac. This is important to users who want an easier experience with their action camera and who don’t necessarily want to have to used their smart phone to configure the device or use a combination of buttons to achieve the function they desire. In the end the GoPro does offer more options but to achieve the desired effect you would have to spend significantly more than the CX Gold offers out of the box.
On the technical side of things the ACTIVEON is an action camera capable of Full HD video at 60FPS and photos at 16MP. These are impressive stats but what is the tech behind the numbers. Well we have some behind the scenes information for you. The ACTIVEON uses the ICATCH 6350 SOC (silicon on chip) solution for DSP and audio. This is a very capable chip of Chinese origin that is often found paired with the 4MP ov4689 image sensor, but not in this case. ACTIVEON uppped the ante and paired the 6350 with the Sony CMOS IMX206 16MP sensor. Here we see the reason for that high IQ output of the ACTIVEON CX Gold. A quick look at the Sony specs for the IMX206 shows it capable of full HD at 60FPS while only sipping 270mW and 200mW during full resolution stills.
– Diagonal 7.77 mm (Type 1/2.3) approx. 16.35M effective pixels (4672H x 3500V)
– Pixel size: 1.34 µm unit pixel
– Support 16.35M-pixel imaging at 10 frame/s and full HD 1080p
– Newly developed smaller and thinner package 10.7 mm (H) × 8.5 mm (V) × 1.52 mm (t)
– Lower power consumption (approximately 270 mW at full HD 1080p output)
|Sensitivity (F5.6)||1096 digit (Typ.)||1/30s accumulation, G signal|
|Saturation signal||2739 digit (Min.)||Tj = 60°C|
|Power consumption||220 mW||All-pixel scan mode (12 bits)
Rolling shutter (at 0 dB and AD-Fullcount)
|270 mW||Full HD 60 frame/s
(at 0 dB and AD-Fullcount)
Interestingly enough the sensor is rated at F/5.6 which makes us question the F/2.4 rating of the CX Gold if the sensor can only capture at F/5.6. We have reached out to ACTIVEON for comment on this and will update our review as soon as we receive their response.